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Gov’t to amend by-law on funding political parties — Maaytah

By Khetam Malkawi - Feb 07,2017 - Last updated at Feb 07,2017

Musa Maaytah

AMMAN — Work is currently under way to amend the by-law regulating the government’s financial support for political parties, according to Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah.

Under the by-law that was enacted last year, eligible political parties receive JD50,000 in annual financial support from the government and an additional JD2,000 for each member who wins a Lower House seat.

“The experience proved that the by-law did not help realise what we were aspiring for,” Maaytah said.

In a recent interview with The Jordan Times, the minister said the main goal behind enacting this by-law was to strengthen political parties and their contribution to the country’s political life, especially through their representation in Parliament.

However, this has not worked out and most of the Lower House members are “independent deputies”, according to Maaytah, who noted that the suggested amendments will link financial support to political parties’ representation in parliamentary elections.

“Some political parties have not even taken part in the polls, and in such a case, there is no reason to provide them with financial support,” he said.

For that purpose, the ministry will conduct studies and organise workshops to come up with an amended by-law.

There are currently 50 registered political parties in Jordan and 25 in the process of registering.

 

Decentralisation 

 

Meanwhile, the minister stressed that the municipal and governorate council elections will be conducted this year and will not be postponed, although some lawmakers have called for postponing them due to the country’s difficult economic situation.

According to Maaytah, the Cabinet this week endorsed amendments to the by-law on electoral districts for the governorate council elections that was enacted two months ago.

The amendments, he noted, include changes to the number of seats allocated to constituencies following recommendations from concerned entities.

However, both the municipal and governorate council elections are planned to be conducted on the same day, which saves cost, human resources and effort.

The Independent Election Commission has said that the cost of both elections is estimated at JD20 million.

“The number of seats in each governorate and constituency is governed by population and demographics,” said the minister, explaining that some governorates will have 60-seat councils like in Amman, while in other small governorates, the number will be between 15 and 16.

Eighty five per cent of council members will be elected, and 15 per cent will be appointed. 

Of the total seats, 15 per cent will be allocated for women [10 per cent through quota and 5 per cent through appointments], in addition to any seats that women would win outside these allocations.

 

However, the exact date for conducting the elections has not been set yet, Maaytah said. 

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